Russell confident in Williams seat despite Perez speculation

Alan Baldwin
·2-min read
Portuguese Grand Prix
Portuguese Grand Prix

By Alan Baldwin

(Reuters) - George Russell said on Thursday he was confident he would be racing for Williams in Formula One next year despite media speculation linking Mexican Sergio Perez to his seat.

The young Briton is backed by engine supplier Mercedes, with whom he has a long-term contract, and has a deal with Williams for 2021.

The struggling former champions, last in the standings in 2019 and without a point so far this year, changed ownership in August.

Perez, who is making way at Racing Point (Aston Martin in 2021) for four-times world champion Sebastian Vettel, has strong financial backing as well as a good record of points and podiums.

"I have a contract for next year. With the new owners coming in, nothing has changed whatsoever from a contractual perspective," Russell, who has yet to score a point in Formula One, told reporters at the Portuguese Grand Prix.

"I’ve actually not spoken to the new owners about it because, from my side, there’s no concern.

"They’ll all be here this weekend. I’m sure any air will be cleared, but I’m not concerned and I will be on the grid next year with Williams."

Russell said there was always bound to be speculation with so many drivers available and fighting for a seat for 2021.

The highly rated driver, who won the F2 championship in 2018, said he was in weekly contact with Mercedes and well-placed in the long-term.

"Ultimately, Formula One is about the best of the best and you always want positions to be purely based on talent and performance," he said.

Canadian team mate Nicholas Latifi was also confident about his seat.

Perez, who has been linked to the Haas team as well, skirted the speculation.

"I think we've got to be respectful to all the teams we are talking to so there's no point to discuss anything at the moment," he said, while recognising there were few options out there.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Pritha Sarkar)